The mayor of Hartford and the state Senator who represents the capital city are working together to appeal to the state Legislature to pass legislation to install cameras at traffic lights.
Robert Suljoti had completed training and was beginning his first day of work at Hartford Hospital early on a Saturday morning in March 2010 when he was struck and killed on Retreat Avenue.
A few months later, Sandra Hoyle, another Hospital employee, was killed just a few months later in the same location when a hit-and-run driver struck her car.
Speeding was a factor in both incidents, and at least one suspect ran a red light prior to the accident, according to Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra and Sen. John Fonfara.
“In 2010, two families of Hartford Hospital employees grieved the loss of loved ones at the hands of motorists who disregarded the law and took lives in the process,” Segarra said in a statement. “For me, red light camera legislation is not about fining violators – it’s about implementing a measure that could potentially save lives.”
The legislation proposed would enable a city or town with a population of more than 60,000 to authorize the use of automated traffic enforcement safety devices.
“We’ve lost people who meant a great deal to us. And we owe it to their memories to make Retreat Avenue a safer place,” Jeff Flaks, president and CEO of Hartford Hospital, said. “Safety is one of our core values. All Hartford Hospital employees deserve and expect a safe environment. More than a year ago, we began efforts to slow down traffic on Retreat Avenue. We are thankful to the City of Hartford and Mayor Segarra for helping us in our efforts to modify the street and make it safer for everyone.”
Among the opponents to traffic light cameras the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut.
"The presumption that the owner of the car and the driver are one and the same is often wrong, yet the owner is always ticketed," said Andrew Schneider, executive director of the ACLU of Connecticut said, according to an opinion on the idea posted on the Web site. "Also, when a police officer pulls someone over, the driver has a chance to explain any extenuating circumstance and the officer may recognize that, for instance, the driver was moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle."